Norwich City Council Elections 2018: Focus on University and Wensum

PUBLISHED: 14:05 27 April 2018 | UPDATED: 10:58 01 May 2018

Norwich goes to the polls next week. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich goes to the polls next week. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

Whatever happens when people head to the polling stations next Thursday, voters in University and Wensum wards are guaranteed to have a new face representing them at Norwich City Council afterwards.

University candidates: Syed Ahmod (C), Connor Bell (LD), Claire Stephenson (G) and Matther Fulton-McAlister (L).University candidates: Syed Ahmod (C), Connor Bell (LD), Claire Stephenson (G) and Matther Fulton-McAlister (L).

After 12 years, Labour’s Bert Bremner is not seeking re-election in University ward – a division which is traditionally a happy hunting ground for his party.

With Mr Bremner not standing, the task of keeping University red falls to Matthew Fulton-McAlister. The former University of East Anglia student, who works for the National Education Union, finds himself up against a Green opponent who knows City Hall well.

Teacher Claire Stephenson is a former leader of the Green group and used to represent Nelson ward before deciding not to seek re-election in 2014.

In 2016, Labour comfortably held the seat, with Beth Jones garnering 1,152 votes to second-placed Green Phil De Palma, who received 315 votes.

Wensum candidates: Tom Sheppard (C), Erin Fulton-McAlister (L), Tom Holloway (G) and Dave Thomas (LD).Wensum candidates: Tom Sheppard (C), Erin Fulton-McAlister (L), Tom Holloway (G) and Dave Thomas (LD).

The Conservatives, who came fourth behind UKIP last time around, are fielding Syed Ahmod, while University of East Anglia student Connor Bell is the Liberal Democrat candidate. The Lib Dems finished fifth in 2016.

Sandra Bogelein, who currently holds Wensum for the Greens is not standing in the division this time, with her sights set on retaining Mancroft for her party.

Tom Holloway is charged with keeping the seat Green, but Labour will be hoping they can replicate their success in 2016, when Kevin Maguire won the seat from the Greens with a majority of 255.

Their candidate is Erin Fulton-McAlister, whose husband is the candidate in University. The Conservative candidate is University of East Anglia student Tom Sheppard, while Dave Thomas, a former Norfolk county councillor for South Smallburgh, is the Liberal Democrat candidate.

Norwich City Council is currently under the control of Labour. They have 26 seats, the Green Party 10 and the Liberal Democrats three.

Polling day is Thursday, May 3 with 13 of 39 seats – a third of the council – up for election.

The count will take place the following day, with results expected in the afternoon.

Make sure you check and follow @EveningNews on Twitter next Friday for the results from the Norwich City Council election.

Who is standing in University?

Syed Ahmod (C): “This is my first appearance in a local election. I am a community worker, and, in the past, I worked as an advisor and project coordinator for the Norwich Bangladeshi Welfare Association.

“Since living in Norwich, I have gotten heavily involved in listening to the local issues in my area. I have lived in this country for around a decade now and I have decided to devote myself to the community and helping people build a better future.”

Connor Bell (LD): “Hi, my name is Connor, I’m a second year history and politics student at the University of East Anglia.

“I am one of two candidates this election who live in the ward, so I am aware of the issues that affect residents of the local area.

“I have grown tired of the issues that currently face residents and students alike, that are not being actioned upon by the council. Such as local housing, schooling, and the roads as well as local amenities.

“If elected councillor, I promise to represent students and local residents alike in the area to the best of my ability and take forward my vision for Norwich university ward.”

Matthew Fulton-McAlister (L): “I’m Norfolk born and bred. I have lived in Norwich since 2008 leaving briefly for work and returning. I studied at UEA where the motto is that we “do different” and this is what I intend to do as a city councillor. “I’m standing for University ward because I have a passion for the community having lived in the ward as a student. I’m standing to be a councillor because I’m passionate about Norwich’s rich history and would like to give back to the city which has given me so much.

“I work for the National Education Union, formerly the NUT. I’m passionate about education having seen first-hand the damage this Tory Government is doing. I want to build on the good work of the Labour Party at City Hall where we have introduced the real Living Wage and ensure Norwich City Council is the best employer in Norfolk.”

Claire Stephenson (G): “I was a city councillor from 2006 to 2014. As the chair of the council’s scrutiny committee, I helped backbench councillors and members of the public find out about decisions the cabinet made. There is still a huge role, today, to be filled by opposition councillors in holding the Labour cabinet to account.

“I believe that decision makers should always consider our natural environment and the effects of their actions on the future of people and our planet.

“A long-term vision is needed at all levels of government if people are to have the best quality of life possible and leave a habitable world for future generations.

“I’m proud of the work Greens have done helping residents, persuading the council to replace trees in the city. Helping local businesses would also be a priority for me, especially those that used energy efficiently, supported skills and crafts or allowed the re-use of materials.”

Who is standing in Wensum?

Erin Fulton-McAlister (L): “It would be a privilege to serve the communities that make up Wensum Ward.

“I have worked hard to campaign for our community, speaking to thousands of people throughout the year. Ever more, it is clear that for many, these are very tough times indeed.

“Every day, the public services, securities and opportunities available for our community are being shredded by this Tory government: in the last few months we have seen huge cuts to our policing team and the future of our local SureStart centre threatened.

“Electing a Labour councillor is critical in protecting the most vulnerable in our communities from these vicious Tory ‘efficiencies’.

“A vote for Labour at this city council election will allow us to keep building badly needed new council homes as we tackle rising homelessness, support local industry to bring good jobs to our community, and provide a fairer city for all.”

Tom Holloway (G): “I am standing for the Green Party in Wensum ward because this beautiful city needs strong Green voices to tackle difficult local issues including homelessness, air pollution, traffic congestion and plastic waste.

“I have seen the impact that Green Party councillors make in bringing in new ideas, challenging the Labour administration, and exposing complacency and a lack of transparency.

“I want to help our community become safer, fairer and more sustainable, which must be achieved by listening to residents’ concerns. By electing a Green councillor, residents know they will be represented by someone that can think and vote freely and with integrity and is not ‘bound’ to a party line.

“I feel sympathies with a number of Labour policies nationally, but we need Green voices to further push for the environment and equality – especially at a local level, where Labour are often not ambitious or forward-thinking enough.”

Tom Sheppard (C): “I was born in Norwich, went to school in Norwich and currently work and study in Norwich.

“I am a second-year student at the University of East Anglia studying politics. In my next academic year, I am going to be the vice president of the UEA Conservative Association.

“I currently work in Brandon Lewis’s constituency office on an internship basis, therefore I know the day to day issues that concern the people of Norfolk.

“I have concerns over a post Brexit Norwich, and how it will affect our city. Pollution and environmental worries are also high on my priority list, as of course is the NHS.”

Dave Thomas (LD): “My name is Dave Thomas and I am the Liberal Democrat candidate for Wensum this year.

“I have worked and lived in Norwich for over 15 years and am tired of seeing a Labour run council take this fine city for granted.

“I want to ensure that council housing is fit for habitation and that empty homes are bought back into use asap, with the council using powers that it has, to force developers who sit on empty plots of land to get building.

“I am a keen runner, and enjoy participating in local Park Runs.

“Please vote for me on May 3 and I will work hard for residents in the area all year round and present your issues to the council.”

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